White House of the Federacy
Visit the White House of the Federacy. 1201 E Clay street. (corner of 12th and Clay St). 804.649.1861 - Monday to Saturday 10AM-5PM, Sunday 12AM-5PM. Price : 8$, student : 5$ Built in 1818, the house was the mansion of the President Jefferson Davis and his family during the Civil War. It is furnished on 19° Century style. The house itself is pinned up between an hospital and the Museum of the Confederacy. In the small square, there are a marvellous fish at the colours of the Confederacy and a piece of the propeller shaft of the battleship Merimac, famous for its fight against an other battleship : the Monitor.
While every old Richmond institution seems to be going by the wayside: even FFV Cookies is moving to a different part of the state, the Sauer's plant still remains at 2000 West Broad Street where it has been since 1911. Sauer's makes various extracts, spices, and condiments. The aroma of vanilla sometimes fills the air in the vicinity of the Sauer's plant. May they celebrate their 100th anniversary at that location in just 6 years.
Armenian Food Festival
Folks who are new to Richmond might assume that Richmond is simply a large Southern city that's mainly white and black with an increasing Latino minority. However, there is a significant Armenian community. The Saint James Armenian Church is in the West End on the corner of Patterson and Pepper Avenues. In late-September, the church holds its annual food festival. They say it is Richmond's oldest continuing food festival. In 2006, Jeff Sargent, his lovely wife Mariangela, and I figured we would try this out. To me, this was very similar to the Greek Festival only older and smaller. The Armenian dances and music were just as catchy. The food was similar in that it had a lot of lamb and rice. I had the Lahmajoun (Armenian meat pie for those from Roxboro) and rice pilaf. Perhaps my biggest disappointment was that they ran out of yalanchi (stuffed grape leaves). Jeff had the chicken shish kebab and Mariangela had the same thing I did. Jeff and I agree we would have gotten more bang for our buck if we had taken the hye burger (lamb marinated in Armenian spices, onion, and parsley, served together with sauteed peppers and onions on pita bread). We know what to do next time.
en español, em português, en français
NASCAR at RIR
One of NASCAR's most popular tracks is Richmond International Raceway. The mega-popular Nextel Cup Series races here twice a year - once in mid-May, and then again in early September. Despite holding over 100,000 specatators, the track ALWAYS sells out. If you want to go to a Richmond Cup race, either plan early (like several months in advance to secure tickets and hotels) or not at all (and just stay out of town and deal with the scalpers). Either way will cost about the same.
RIR is a 3/4 mile banked oval - offering a good combination of speed and bumping n' banging. There have been some classic races here in the past, and the fall race is one of the most looked forward to events of the year - as it's the last race before "The Chase" (the playoffs for you non-fans).
Tickets are between $75-85 - if you're lucky enough to get 'em from the box office. When... not if, but when... the race sells out, you can get tickets from a variety of legalized scalping agencies, or try your luck with the touts. If you have a choice, sit as high up the stands as possible, especially in the turns. If I had my choice, the best seats in the house are right near turn 1. For a NASCAR event, the traffic is really not too bad. It's a bit of a hike from the free lots, but quite manageable.
The usual restrictions are in place as far as what you can bring in. Check out the website.
Believe it or not, you can actually bring your own BEER into the race track; it just has to fit into a 12 x 6 x 6 soft sided cooler! One strong word of warning, though! If you're going to be drinking, then, for God's sake, pace yourself! The races don't start 'till 7 PM, and if it's hot you can really overdo it and end up like these guys!
Richmond's Byrd Theater
Located in the heart of the artsy Carytown district of Richmond, there is a grand ole theater called the "Byrd", named for William Byrd I and II. Its name around Richmond is "Richmond's Movie Place", and has been in business since 1928. Its claim to fame is to be the first in Virginia to have a sound system, which was a big deal back then. Although during our walking tour, we did not get a chance to go inside, I understand the inside is just as stunning as the outside in terms of history.
The Byrd also offers a pretty unique price, of $1.99/person, which is far lower than the modern movie theaters.